Filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra is still waiting to hear “we are sorry” from the people of the nation for not doing anything after the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in 1990, and wants people to remember that “the only thing to hate is hate”.
To mark the 30th anniversary of the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley, Vidhu Vinod held a special screening of his upcoming movie “Shikara: The Untold Story Of Kashmiri Pandits” for Kashmiri Pandits on Sunday here.
The special screening of about 30 minutes was attended by over 30 Kashmiri Pandit refugees from Jagti migrant camp in Jammu, out of which some have even worked on the film.
“This is the first time I saw the film on the big screen. So many Muslim brothers worked on the film with us. They knew that this film was about the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits, and still they worked with us in Kashmir. This is the Kashmir we know, and ek din yeh Kashmir wapis ayega (One day that spirit of Kashmir will come back). We will go back and live the way we used to. This is my hope,” Vidhu Vinod said.
“It has been 30 years and nothing has been done yet. Koi shor nahi macha (There was no clamour about this),” the director said, referring to a dialogue from the film’s clip wherein one person mentions that he is confident that there will be “shor” in the Parliament about the exodus.
“My hope is that ab toh shor macha do,” he added.
“I want people to go online and just write ‘Sorry to all the Kashmiri Pandits’ as we didn’t do anything. Sorry to all of you who continue to live in refugee camps even after 30 years of the exodus. This is my only hope. We are still waiting to hear awe are sorry, Kashmiri Pandits’,” said an emotional Vidhu Vinod.
“The only thing to hate is hate. I hope this message goes out all around the country,” he added.
“Shikara: The Untold Story Of Kashmiri Pandits” is touted as a “story of resilience in the face of insurmountable odds. It’s also the story of a love that remains unextinguished through 30 years of exile. A timeless love story in the worst of times”.
“Shikara” addresses the issue of ethnic cleansing and riots that took place in 1989 in Kashmir. The film chronicles the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir on the night of January 19, 1990, through the story of Shiv Kumar Dhar (essayed by Aadil Khan) and Shanti Dhar (essayed by Sadia). It also shows the layers of blooming romance in the conflict-ridden state of Kashmir.
Rahul Pandita, author of the book, “Our Moon Has Blood Clots: The Exodus Of Kashmiri Pandits”, has turned Bollywood screenwriter for the film.
At the event, he also recalled the harrowing moments that Kashmiri Pandits faced during that time, from taking bath openly to struggling to meet basic food necessities.
“We were asked to leave our houses within a matter of weeks. All of us left like that, suddenly. My mother was exactly was my age in 1990 when she left Kashmir with three — one with me and my sisters’ books, others had some clothes. I can’t even narrate what all we faced. The humiliation, bathing under public taps, no daris, no blankets, standing all day for tomatoes, but we never lost hope,” he said.
“Justice ki toh baat jaane dijiye, at the very least we need an acknowledgement,” added Rahul.
The film is very close to Vidhu Vinod, who has donned the director’s hat after his directorial “Eklavya: The Royal Guard” that had hit the screens in 2007. The “3 Idiots” producer has directed, edited and produced “Shikara” in association with Fox Star Studios. It is slated to release on February 7.